Today marks one year since Mandy and I changed our lives and began to live healthier. During that time we haven’t missed a single day of working out. Now let me be honest and clear – that was not the intention when we started, but it did work out that way and we couldn’t be happier.
At the beginning of this journey we set up a system in which we were required to work out three days a week. If we did five, we each received a non-food reward such as a new book, new clothes, or in Mandy’s case – a pedicure. This was designed to give us motivation to earn the things we wanted while also not giving reward in the form of the things we were trying to change. In fact, it worked out that most of the rewards we each chose were fitness-related and further contributed to our motivation. Those first couple of weeks brought out each of our competitive streaks and neither wanted to be the first to take a day off. So we didn’t. For a whole year. Once we realized what was happening, “The Streak” took on a life of its own and led to 3am workouts after falling asleep on the couch, getting up at dawn to get in a run before catching a flight or even leaving the hospice on the night my grandmother passed away and taking out my grief by running stairs.
Looking back now it gives me chills to see God’s fingerprints all over this transformation. Neither of us could have anticipated the changes that have occurred over the past year. Case in point – Mandy created a video of all the photos and footage we took during the process of building our house. In that video, there is one small point where I’m talking about the layout of our basement. I turn to the open room and I say “And this room? I don’t even know what’s going to happen in here.” God knew exactly what was going to happen though: that’s the area that now houses our home gym. We poured out tons of sweat and burned countless calories right there. We were set on a path long before we even realized it to achieve His great plan and seeing that plan unfold before our eyes gets me absolutely fired up!
So great – we are healthier and we feel much better about our lives. We are psyched with the wins we have made, but we believe that everything happens for a reason. We might not have known it but the outpouring of love we have received recently showed us that people have been watching our journey. The benefits that we have realized aren’t the result of luck. We put in the hard work, stayed on the right side of the calorie in/out equation, and – to borrow a phrase from Mandy – kept putting one foot in front of the other. There was no secret diet plan, no DVD box set, and honestly very little expense on our part. I say that not to brag, but to show anyone reading this that all it takes is committing to a change and getting out there to make it happen. So to echo my lovely wife, I want to challenge everyone to decide today to do something about the changes that you have been telling yourself that you need to make for a long time. We would LOVE to buy Starbucks for someone who exercises for the next seven days. If you live close I’ll join you if that’s what it takes. No requirement to go run a marathon – anything more than what you currently do on a regular basis for one week and you will get free coffee!
Beside the challenge though, we wanted to share our top three tips that helped us the most along the way. Check back Friday for the Volpes’ Keys to Success! If you are reading this, we really do love you and we want the best for you. This challenge isn’t about making you feel guilty, but rather we want to encourage you to get healthy and improve your life. I hope that one year from now, you will be writing your own success story!